A mental health map to manage the holidays:

No matter how you celebrate, the holiday season can be easily get complicated and overwhelming. Here are some tips to consider to manage the impact of this busy time on your mental health:

      1. Set Realistic Expectations: Don’t pressure yourself to have a perfect holiday, or expect to make it perfect for others. Set realistic goals and be kind to yourself if things don’t go exactly as planned.
      2. Manage Finances: Financial stress can be a significant and lasting burden. Set a budget for gifts and festivities and stick to it to avoid post-holiday financial strain. There are lots of meaningful ways to recognize and acknowledge the people who are important to you other than buying expensive gifts. 
      3. Stay Active: Exercise can alleviate stress and improve your mood. Take walks, practice yoga, or engage in any physical activity you enjoy. Consider doing something active together with family or friends.
      4. Maintain Boundaries: It’s okay to say ‘no’ to commitments that may overwhelm you. Protect your time and energy by paying attention to when you’ve hit your limit, and setting boundaries that help sustain you.
      5. Seek Support: If you’re feeling overwhelmed or lonely, reach out to friends, family, or a therapist. Sometimes talking to someone can provide comfort and perspective. Several of our team members are working over the holidays, so if you need someone to talk to, reach out. The crisis lines will also be open. 
      6. Be Real: Sometimes being honest and vulnerable about how you’re feeling can allow others to do the same, which helps everyone connect. A lot of people struggle over the holidays for a lot of reasons, it’s ok to admit it if you do too. 
      7. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that recharge you, whether it’s reading, taking a bath, meditating, or listening to calming music.
      8. Limit Substance Use: Be mindful of alcohol or other substances, including sugar. While they might seem like a temporary relief, excessive use can worsen anxiety and depression.
      9. Limit Social Media: If you find yourself feeling envious or lonely when you look at pictures of others online, try going offline or having real chats with real people. What you see online is not the whole story about what others are experiencing. 
      10. Create New Traditions: If old traditions bring stress or remind you of difficult times, create new ones that align better with your current situation and bring you joy.
      11. Plan Ahead: Plan your schedule to include breaks and moments of relaxation, and don’t overload yourself with too many activities in a short span of time. If you expect that there may be difficult times, talk to a therapist about your worries, to make a plan in advance to handle the tough times. 
      12. Practice Gratitude: Focus on what you’re grateful for. Gratitude can shift your perspective and enhance your overall mood. 

    Remember that it’s okay to prioritize your mental health during the holidays. Taking care of yourself allows you to better enjoy the season and share your joy with others.

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